This may seem strange, but I really miss the deadlines and critiques that were forced on me in grad school. Working alone in my studio with no exhibitions in sight, I feel as if I’m losing momentum and focus. How do I keep on track?
-A photographer, Cincinnati, OH
The transition from art student to professional artist is often a difficult one. Now that you’re working solo, you’ll need to work extra hard to build a structure for your professional studio practice. This means making your own deadlines based on what you want to accomplish.
In his book The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, Steven Covey offers this advice: “Begin with the end in mind.” For an artist, this means envisioning your next exhibition even though it’s not yet scheduled into your calendar.
In other words, if your goal (the ending) is to have a solo exhibition of your work in the fall, you’d better get in the studio in the present (the beginning).
One way to go about this is to set up a project for yourself with a concrete completion date, with the knowledge that once the project is complete, you’ll go full speed ahead with finding exhibition opportunities for the work. In this sense, you are working towards a deadline.
In terms of momentum and focus, now that you’re outside the art school cocoon, you’ll need to invest time in building your own supportive creative community. Creativity doesn’t thrive in a vacuum. It thrives on the infusion of new ideas, knowledge and information.
Even if you don’t currently live in an “art” city, you can get online to reach out and connect with other Artists and Creatives. Their input, advice, and support is critical to your artistic and career development.
It’s important to understand that just because you’re no longer in a formal school environment or program doesn’t mean you have to miss out on opportunities to connect with and learn from other artists.
Send your questions to Kesha:
Subject Line: Fresh Rx